Argentina ban threatens deal

EU farm ministers and officials have warned that restrictions on food imports by Argentina could undermine renewed free trade talks between the EU and the Mercosur group of South American countries.

EU countries, including France, Germany and Italy, have backed a complaint by Greece over Argentina’s curbs, which include cancellation or suspension of $2.4 million of canned peach imports – equivalent to 40% of Greek exports to Argentina.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos said the restrictions were being applied to nearly all agro-food products which the EU exports to Argentina.

“Aside from the illegal nature of these measures, I am equally concerned by their announcement on the eve of the resumption of negotiations with Mercosur,” he told the recent EU Agriculture Ministers Council.

An EU complaint over the alleged Argentine ban on European imports has been made to the World Trade Organisation. “If these measures persist, the negotiations with Mercosur will necessarily be affected,” Ciolos added.

EU ministers and farming groups are strongly opposed to a Mercosur trade deal.


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